By Philip Mwakio
Uganda remains Kenya’s key source market in Africa with great potential to grow beyond the current level since the destination serves as an alternative quick getaway.
The country's top tourism marketer, Kenya Tourism Board (KTB) reports that Uganda is Kenya’s leading source markets currently ranked number one in Africa and number two globally in terms of arrivals into Kenya.
In 2019 Kenya received 215,894 visitors from Uganda, a 5.4 per cent increase over the previous year.
The key contributing factors for these growth has been the open borders, Ugandans need only an ID/resident permit to travel to Kenya, the bulging millennial population in Uganda (nearly 26% of the population according to World Bank), trends on group travel.
There is also enhanced accessibility – operating flights, Kenya Airways, Jambojet, Rwanda Air and Uganda Airlines which launched a direct flight to Mombasa last year.
Other contributing factors include aggressive marketing campaigns that have been rolled out in the market by KTB in the last four years, namely the #TugendeKenya consumer digital campaign which was spearheaded to interest more Ugandans to visit Kenya.
''The long-term goal for the market is to make Kenya the top of mind holiday destination for Ugandan travellers. This will ultimately increase the value and volume of tourists that Kenya gets from the Market,'' KTB says.
KTB focuses 2020 on creating awareness and driving conversion thereby increasing total Uganda arrivals to Kenya.
A co-op Marketing Campaign is to be implemented this year (February 2020) to build into this strategy focusing on Kenya’s core experiences ideal for regional travellers.
Most travellers from Uganda are keen to sample beach getaways, for special occasions – Weddings & Honeymoons as well as short breaks over long weekends
There are also those coming for meetings and events.
The awareness of Kenya’s tourism offers is considerably high, however, there is room for improvement as about 13 per cent of Ugandan travellers do not know what Kenya has to offer.
Nairobi and the Kenya Coast remain a popular destination for the regional travellers. In most cases, place brands such as Diani, Mombasa, Nairobi are becoming more popular than the overall country brand.
Spending on holiday for Ugandan travellers is between USD1,000 (appx. sh100,000) and USD 5,000 (appx. sh500,000)
Approximately one in six Ugandans travelling to Kenya spends more than USD5,000 ?(appx. sh500,000)